HNW - tambour work

S. Gilbert sgilbert at
Thu Sep 17 09:37:49 PDT 1998

 Dear Kathryn,

	Nice to talk to another tambour worker.  I have used everything
from silk organza and hemp silk to blanket weight wool for tambour.  I do
a lot of work in muslin and bridal silk (not together...although that does
have possibilities)  As long as it's a fairly tight even weave fabric it
seems to work.
	I use my large round free-standing quilt frame for big projects,
bridal trains, shawls, beaded projects.  Beading projects need to be
framed so that the whole project can be seen, since you'll destroy work
you've already done.  The hoop will crush and crunch the beeds.  I know
this seems like common sense, but I goofed on this one by simply not
thinking it through. Beading projects that cannot be hooped because they
are too big, I break up into smaller component parts.  I bead them, cut
them out and then applique then back together on the base fabric.
	 Long projects (like beading a long length of trim you want to be
able to move later) can be done on a scroll frame.  Center it on the
frame, giving yourself a lot of lead to anchor it to the rod.  I put
scraps of muslin over the beading to protect it when I roll it up to get
to the next area I need to work on. 
	I use plain wooden hand held hoops for smaller projects.  I prop
them on the edge of a table or the arm of my chair, so I have both hands
free.  I am building a table frame like the one you described, to support
the smaller hoops, as I just received a new rocking  chair that I love to
sew in, but I can't prop my hoops like I used to.
	For the actual work I have used baby weight wool, Ginnie Thompson
Flower Thread, DMC floss (cotton and rayon), Gutermann's silk sewing
thread, super fine crochet cotton, tapestry wool, what ever works.  Just
match fiber to fiber for washability. Silk is washable on anything, I've
found.  I never wash wool, dry clean only, but I know some folks do. 
	With DMC floss I separate the skein into the number of threads I
intend to use and put it on winders.  I don't tie the ends together, when
I'm close to running out, I tie off the end and start another.  I weave in
the loose ends later.

Hope this helps.

Susan Gilbert  aka
She Has Old Hands
Trueblood Camp
sgilbert at

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